Hunger Games: A Writer's Review This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 17, 2012
As a learning writer, I always read with two purposes in mind to enjoy and to learn. There’s nothing better than to read a good book with a solid plot and characters through and through. There’s nothing worse than reading a book and knowing you could’ve done a better job. This review fuses both sides of my reading habits.
Part 1 - A Reader’s Perception

My original reason for reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was the vast amount of positive reviews from fans and critics alike. (That and the pending release date for the film adaptation.) Not willing to wait at the library, I willing plunked done $9 for my own copy. I cracked open this book with high hopes, to say the least.

The plot was automatically intriguing. Right away I was attracted to Katniss firm resolve to survive and honest narration. In the back of Katniss mind rings the words of rebellion, words much to dangerous to be spoken aloud, except when in the forest. The irony is the connection of freedom and forest. The very setting for the games. Throughout the novel I learned little about her character except her mental prowess and survival techniques. Obviously a gladiator-style-survivor-reality-TV-show is not the place to pour out your heart. I greatly enjoyed Collins vivid style of writing. I could visualize the Capitol and its splendor starkly contrasted with the horror of the Games. With Collins precise wording, I could see the arena, judges, and the millions watching at home watching. The reader is not kept in the dark, with all the information of the games I knew what to expect, which left for little suspense in the plot. As Katniss herself states the Games are a grave tradition and reminder of cruel tyranny. Collins thought of it all, especially when it came to the Games. Fireballs, temperature controlled arenas, screen-lit skies, and of course, reality TV violence. Nothing was left to question…except the characters.

The ending was perfect. Perfect for a trilogy. (I did myself a disservice buy reading The Hunger Games after the other two books were published. Thus eliminating the possibility of Katniss death at the end of the first book.) The ending left holes in the original novel. The twenty-four, young people, the tributes, were obviously thrown into the worst possible situation. I felt the confusing character traits, specifically with Peeta, to not only disturbing but also unbelievable. Is he a good guy or not? Before the games Peeta intentions seem noble, he resolves not to let the games change him in anyway. Then a few day later during the games it appears he not joins with a ruthless band of killers. It makes it hard to like him or trust him as character. The mutant-monster wolves at the ending seemed more fitting for a scene X-Men Wolverine or possible Twilight. The rest of the novel didn’t support such a drastic fantasy animal.

Part 2 - A Writer’s Perception

As a writer, I believe every character needs to deal with stress in some level or form. Under stress is when the true characteristics come through. THE Hunger Games provided the ample opportunity for a host of characters to emerge - courage, strength, honor, fear etc. Relationships and alliances could develop; genuine ones. Instead I felt as if a prejudice blindfold was kept on the reader’s eyes. Twenty-four young people are thrown together for the fight of their lives. Can all of them be downright evil? What are their stories? What are they fighting for aside from survival? What will they lose? With so much emphasis on the games, I felt he characters were practically overlooked.

The ending by far was the best part of the book, because it contained the best line to novel. “They have to have a victor.” It’s a line that sums a battle that is to unfold, starting with Peeta’s and Katniss’s rebellion at the end.

Part 3 - A Writer’s Review

I would have enjoyed The Hunger Games so much more if changes were made. After closing the book, questions were left unaswered. If I were to rewrite The Hunger Games these are the changes I would make. The first parts of the novel leading up to the Games I would’ve kept the same. Creating anticipation and vivid mental picture of things to come. Focus on Peeta and Katniss and their complicated non-relationship before the games. Then with the beginning of the games introduce Twenty-two new characters and tell their story.

Second, I would infuse the theme of the ending ideals throughout the entire novel. Laying the foreground and then taking a completely unexpected turn with the plot. (After doing some further research I realized similar angles were explored with following two novel, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.)

Of course, every good story has to have the classic struggle between good and evil. Meaning every story has to have at least one bad guy. In my theoretical ending the bad guys would emerge as the fight for survival begins. But this time the alliances were stronger. The fight isn’t against each other, its against the Games. What better place to make a statement against the Capitol then on national TV? The real emergence of bad guys begins when characters are unveiled. Those who are dedicated to life and freedom. And those who are dedicated to violence.

Let The Hunger Games begin…

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